Bill Speaks (Audio And Video)

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October 30, 2007

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Julie Wittes Schlack

Pete, though I was never fortunate enough to meet your dad, I can imagine that he was a great guy judging from your affectionate references to him and those qualities of his that seem to live on in you. My sincere condolences to you and your family.

Joe Baltrush

Bill was truly an easy guy to know and love. Although we didn't meet at the time, we shared our memories of the China, Burma, India theatre where we both served during WW2. We also successfully solved most of the world's problems over many meals together. I'm sure Bill is busy making a place for all his friends and family to be together again!

Terry Keleher

I’m really going to miss Uncle Bill, my favorite uncle, who has been like another father figure in my life for more than 40 years. I feel very fortunate and enriched for having spent so many memorable slices of life with him.

I remember spending my 7th Birthday at Disneyland with most of the combined 17 kids in the Blackshaw and Keleher families – one of so many vacations and big family events spent with this gaggle of cousins. But on that day, Uncle Bill singled me out and took just me for a special Monorail ride to a noisy restaurant/bar. I don’t know whether I had a Green River or a Root Beer there, but I do remember him making me feel so really big and important. His way of connecting conveyed real interest and true kindness – a feeling I’d experience with him many times throughout my life.

In fact, I think Uncle Bill had such a rich life––and enriched the lives of so many––because he had a wonderful way of connecting with people. Maybe his wide and eclectic array of interests made it easy to find something in common. Or, perhaps it was his captivating storytelling or adventurous spirit that had some kind of mesmerizing effect. Or it could have easily been the sheer entertainment of his humor and wit. Mostly, I believe, he was a genuinely good-hearted person who truly loved people.

Uncle Bill’s love of storytelling was one way he kept a connection with his favorite people. He’d fondly recount a cherished memory, sometimes of people far away or long passed, and they could instantly seem alive, nearby and in their full glory. His affection was evident. I know Bill Blackshaw will live long in the memories and stories of so many, like me, who loved this unusual and remarkable man.

My heart is with the whole Blackshaw family and all his loved ones who share this loss, but who also share the tremendous gift he was to all of our lives.

Terry Keleher

Erika Brown (daughter-in-law)

Bill was the perfect, loving, and warm father-in-law, who I will deeply miss. From the minute I entered the family, Bill welcomed me with open arms - Irish arms I must say. At my first Blackshaw dinner, he passed me a napkin with a note saying the "Irish are great" so I wouldn't feel out of place with all the energized Italians around the table.

He was loved by my entire family, who feel deep sadness that he is gone, and hope he is hanging with my dad right now debating history and sharing global adventure stories.

The part that hits my heart the most is when I look at Leila and Liam and realize they won't have him in their lives to teach them about photography, encourage them to read poetry, and show them how to bring people happiness with a joke, story or hug.

Hugs to the entire clan - we are there in spirit!

Wm. Beach

I remember Mr. Blackshaw as a kind and friendly man. I can say that I, as well as many others, are truly more enriched by knowing him. We send our Prayers and condolances to the family.

Ann Erdman

I regret that I had to be out of town this weekend and was unable to attend the service. I always loved talking with Bill about everything from the ad game to opera to local politics. It was an honor to know him. I offer my heartfelt condolences to the Blackshaw family.

John

Almost five hundred years ago a young Italian priest named Ignatius founded a religious community in the town of Loyola. The order of men was called the Society of Jesus, but most know them as the Jesuits.

Their leader encouraged his new band of brothers to go out an become "men for others."

As I watched the funeral Mass of Bill Blackshaw unfold yesterday at St. Andrew's in Pasadena, many thoughts crossed my mind.

If you grow up "Catholic," every young man is encouraged to consider the priesthood as a vocation in life. I'm sure Bill got a hint or two from some family member, or nun in grammar school. Did Bill ever think about it as his life approached forty, and yet he was still single?

God, as I understand Him, had other plans for Bill. I've come to believe that nothing happens in His world by accident........absolutely nothing!

Bill was becoming a man for others, and those of us who watched it unfold, wondered how a single, forty year old would do as a father?

He did so well that the Good Lord sent he and Jay three more beautiful children. Donna and I were lucky enough to see and visit with all of them, and their mother, yesterday afternoon.

I believe, that after this life as we know it, there is a place where Bill's soul has passed. I've also enjoyed the thought the perhaps our friend Bill has met Ignatius.

You know the rest of the story.

John Shean

Scott Evans

The last of the great icons of Eisaman, Johns & Laws has left us. Bill was an EJL treasure. It was a joy to work with him and play with him and share in the adventures that seemed to come his way. We loved Bill, as did his clients, for his professionalism, dedication and that renowned sense of humor. And I'm reminded of his remarkable sensitivity and thoughtfulness. Years after leaving EJL, only three years ago, we collaborated with art director Ed Cunningham and production Manager Nancy Kerr Westland on the "EJL reunion book," a collection of memories of those wonderful years submitted by dozens of agency alumni. Most of the storytelling came from Bill, of course. With the book completed and ready for printing, Bill phoned me, rather frantic: "Scott, call Ed, call Nancy. Stop the presses! I forgot to write a story about Margot. We can't forget Margot!" That was so very Bill.

Wendy Blackshaw - daughter-in-law

I met Bill ten years ago at the wedding of his youngest daughter, Amy. John and I had started dating a few months before and I knew introducing me to "la familia" was a very big step. Driving up through the redwood forest I started feeling nauseous because I was so nervous. This was very important to Johnnie and I knew I had to pass muster! I still remember walking into the reception hall and seeing the Blackshaw clan for the first time. The room was a frenzy of activity - laughter, singing, dancing, cooking,and more singing - and suddenly all of these exuberant women with dark hair were flying around John and I, hugging and kissing. I needn't have worried - I was lovingly welcomed into the family from those first moments. And no one welcomed me more so than Bill. He spent time with me that weekend, getting to know me. A few times i think he noticed my confusion when talking to one of the 75 red-headed guests at the wedding and he would help me by murmuring into my ear the name of the Keleher that I was talking with. I was so touched by the fact that he was the father of the bride and yet he took the time to learn about me and my son, Beau. We discovered that we had a 12-step program in common. That created a bond between us that has grown stronger every year. And I'll never forget, he shared with me that he was the luckiest man in the world because when he married Jay, he suddenly had a family with Julie, Mary, John and Gina. And how lucky Johnnie would be because he would experience the same thing with Beau and I.

Bill was always so interested in everything the kids were doing - last spring when we visited, he uncovered Beau's great love for books. Bill spent the next few hours introducing Beau to his favorite books and favorite authors. Beau is still reading off that list and will be for years to come.

Two weeks ago when we visited, we entered the apt at Villa Gardens, he opened his eyes, saw me and said "Hi Babe", his greeting for the past 10 years. I am going to miss walking into a room or picking up the phone and hearing "Hi Babe". I am honored to have known Bill, both as my father-in-law and as my friend. And I will miss him. But I know that I will continue to see Bill shining through every day through Johnnie. Johnnie's kindness, integrity, thirst for knowledge, sincerity - all these traits he learned through Bill's example. But most of all, I see Bill in John's love and commitment to us - to Bella, Beau and I. Thank you, Bill. I'll miss you.

Frank and June White

Dear Family of Bill Blackshaw,

I am Frank White, brother of Joe Byron White who was a long time friend, pal and admirer of your beloved Billy Blackshaw. Joe Byron died in 1999, but over the many years of their acquaintance, from Pittsburgh to California, I grew to know Bill from Joe Byron's anecdotes of his happy and fund times with Bill, praise for his talents and generosity and admiration for his sound mind and spirit. Then, finally on one of his visits to my wife's home town, Cincinnati, I finally got to meet Bill Blackshaw. We arranged to have breakfast at a First Watch Restaurant in downtown Cincinnati, and June, and I met the great man that my brother had loved and admired for so many years. It was so easy -- meeting him, talking to him and laughing with him -- as though we had known him personally for many years past.

I had taken a large 16 X 20 picture of my brother to share with Bill and he was delighted. He suggested that we take the attached pictures to show that Joe Byron, absent in person, was there with us in spirit. We truly enjoyed that couple of hours in Cincinnati, and only regret that that was the only time we were able to enjoy Bill Blackshaw up close and personal.

You all have so many memories and such love and pride to help you through the pain of your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

God Bless!

Miles Keleher

Uncle Bill had an enormous positive impact on my life. In many ways, he was like a second father to me. I have countless fond memories of him throughout the years from California to Cape Cod, and numerous places in between. No matter where we were, Uncle Bill's presence always made the experience much more fun, humorous and interesting. For example, in 1978, Uncle Bill gave Neil and me such an interesting tour of California that we refused to go home as scheduled, and postponed our return flight two times. Not surprisingly, Uncle Bill was a great sport and made us feel welcome throughout our extended vacation. I was surprised when he trusted me to drive his van through the mountains even though I had only recently learned how to drive. Perhaps he had reviewed some of his old photos and was reassured by the fact that I was once able to ride a tricycle with Neil standing on the back. In any event, I feel extremely fortunate to have had so many unforgettable experiences with Uncle Bill.

Michele and I are going to miss Uncle Bill very much. In the years ahead, I intend to continue to share his wisdom and humor with Alana and Cara.

Kim & Bill Lucas

We are deeply saddened to learn that your dad passed away. We know what he meant to our Uncle Don who passed away a few years ago & we enjoyed getting to know him as well.

We remember when Uncle Don traveled west to make his home with your dad for a while. The two of them would call or email reporting their adventures. One that we especially remember was when they called while they were enjoying the Pasadena Parade.

We especially enjoyed the couple of times your dad went out of his way to come visit with us when he traveled east. He spoke very highly of you and others in the family; her clearly cherished all of you. Then he would delight us with adventure stories he & Uncle Don shared over the years. Bill was quite enchanting and appeared to have been quite accomplished in his professional endeavors.

We also enjoyed the emails he would send from time to time. They always made us feel a live connection to Uncle Don.

We know you will remember him fondly forever.

Thank you for passing this message on to us.

Heartfelt sympathy,
Kim & Bill Lucas

Jay Rampuria

Pete and Family-

Our heartfelt condolences to you on your loss. I was fortunate enough to have met Mr. Blackshaw on a few occassions and can echo the multitude of comments on how incredible of a person he truly was. Please let us know if there is anything that we can do to help in this time of loss.

JR

Fran Bell

My thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time. Bill was an old friend of mine from Amberson Garden days in Pittsburgh. We even started sending e-mails to each other, keeping up with our life now. I was quite aware that he was seriously ill from his last e-mail and I responded that he was in my prayers. It is good to learn that you were all around him in his last days.

What a wonderful guy he was! In my last e-mail I told him that one of my favorite memories of our old days was when he and George McManus would drive us up to Seven Springs to ski "after work" on week days.
That was so much fun! Bill and George were a fun combination, both with a great Irish sense of humor. They would have "open house" Fridays after work to gather for a few drinks at their apartment. Bill was also a very warm, understanding person to talk to when you needed someone. I will be pleased to get on his
web-site. I saved some of his e-mails and will read them over in memory of him. I know his family meant so much to him; your e-mail to me tells me something about the kind of wife and children he was blessed with.
Thanks so much for letting me know the sad news. My deepest sympathy to all of you.

Sincerely, Fran Bell

Guy R. Gruppie

I am very sorry to learn about Bill's passing. I met him years ago when we lived in the same Pasadena condo complex and I was renting a unit from his sister. I was so impressed with how many different things interested him, and how much Bill seemed to know about everything. I was just starting out as a lawyer then, and he knew more about my corporate clients than I did....he was always in good spirits and I have missed our friendship since I moved to Arcadia and started a family. Bill was a Renaissance Man, and I know he will be greatly missed by his family and I am sure, many friends.

God Bless Bill and your family

Guy R. Gruppie

Fran Bell

When I heard of Bill dying, I wanted to get in touch with another Amberson Garden friend of Bill's and mine.
His name is John Sweeny and several years ago he got in touch with Bill when someone died in Bill's family and John, who lives in New Jersey, went to the funeral home to see Bill. John's wife died in 2003 and was the last I heard from John. David and I used to get together with them in the early days of our marriage. Anyway, in one of Bill's e-mails, he said he would send me a photo of "Doc, Ken and John Sweeny and Bill when they went on a "float down" the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. Anyway he never got around to sending it to me. If you could locate this photo, please send it to me.

Now, to finish my story. I tried to get in touch in every way possible with John to tell him about Bill. Finally, on my computer I got "White Pages", a phone number for him (which I had) but when I called, it was disconnected. Finally got in touch with John's daughter, Nancy, and learned sad news about John. This really floored me! John died last Mon, a week ago, Nov. 5th, of colon cancer; had an operation and was in the hospital for 3 months, she said. That was only a week from the day Bill died! Two old friends!! That leaves me and one other person, a girl-friend of mine, still living from that group of singles in the 50's and
60's. I had to tell you about all this news, as it relates to Bill.

My husband, David, knew both of them, but John better than Bill as he left Pittsburgh right after we got married. If you do find the photo send it to:
Then I would have a picture of the two of them. What fond memories I have of Bill and John.

Bill's web-site has been terrific reading for me and many others. That first picture of Bill was the way I remember him, when he was young. Also, thought he looked good in his old age and loved his poetry, and the many memories of him from his family and friends.

I'm 82, with two grandchildren whom I visited last weekend in Maryland. I got married at 40; had my only daughter, Laurie at age 42. Can relate to Bill's age in getting marriage. What a lucky guy he was!
Warmly, Fran Bell

Nina Cabrera

About 100 years ago, give or take a few, I had the great good fortune of living a few houses away from the Bradshaws in Mt. Lebanon PA. I spent quite a bit of time at Mary's house and remember Mr. Bradshaw very fondly. I most remember him including me on one of the family ski trips. I remember him skiing with Mary and me and him telling me to "pick the flowers" as I shifted my weight side to side while descending the slope. To this day when I am skiing I remember Mr. Bradshaw instructing me to, "Pick the Flowers." I also was invited to the Bradshaw house in Pasadena and remember a harrowing drive through a car park. Mr. Bradshaw had the wheel turned as tightly as it could be made to turn and round and round down and down we went. I was amazed, and slightly scared, that a vehicle could travel in such tight circles while descending a parking garage. There are times I find myself remembering that wild ride and a smile always finds its way to my face. He was a gem! Thanks so much for creating this marvelous space. I am going to stop biting my upper lip and let the tears drop for the joy and sadness I am now feeling. Bless you all.

Dan Mechem

I miss Bill Blackshaw. I remember so fondly driving from Seattle to San Francisco with Bill, his wife and Pete. We had a blast. I felt like family.

Reminds me that the next time I am sent to earth, I will request an Italian heritage..and a heart as big as Bill's

Tom Vogler

The only time I ever recall meeting him was when my father was out in Southern California at a convention. It was in 1978. I was 9 years old at the time. My father spoke well of him and we spent some time at his place in Pasadena.

This comes to mind now because I am going to be out in that area in a little over 2 weeks. I have fond memories of the day I was able to spend with two of his daughters who were around my age. I had a great time with them while my parents and older brother went to The Tonight Show.

I'm sorry I never kept in touch with his family or with him. Our lives were connected in a very unique way. My father was about Bill's age and grew up in Trenton and apparently they kept in touch from time to time.

Early last year I was able to meet a man who served in WWII with my father. I'm sorry I missed the opportunity with Bill Blackshaw.

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gino

pals in AA still missing Bill

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